What parent doesn’t love the joy of sharing a book with his child? As a mom of three, I know that the time spent choosing, reading and talking about books with my preschooler, kindergartner and sixth grader is always valuable. I love that they each have interest in books that they indulge on their own, too.
My younger children and I have recently had the opportunity to “test drive” an electronic reading system together, which is a completely new experience for them. VTech, a company that is well known for its electronic learning toys, now makes the V.Reader, an interactive e-reading system. I’m happy to share with you our impressions, as well as to offer you a giveaway opportunity just in time for the holidays!
The V.Reader is recommended for 3-7 year old children, and it features a 3.5″ color touch screen. A small stylus is provided that fits snugly into the bottom of the V.Reader, or children can simply use their fingertips to navigate on screen. A full QWERTY keypad sits below the touchscreen, along with different colored buttons for interacting with the games and stories. One story is included in the game system, and additional story cartridges are available for purchase to use with the system. Also, children can opt to use the internal art studio or coloring book features to create or alter images.
Using the VTech Learning Lodge Navigator, a program to download onto a computer, parents can connect the V.Reader to a computer and download more than 45 different titles for their children to read and interact with, as well as keep track of their child’s progress using the system. Many of the available titles feature characters most likely already familiar to kids, including Toot and Puddle and the entire Sesame Street gang. I’m personally quite pleased to see nonfiction options available from National Geographic, featuring informative texts that will engage young children.
Usability and Educational Benefits
My children are not terribly tech-savvy, for their use of electronic games is quite limited. Yet, even with little previous experience to draw upon, my five year old daughter was immediately comfortable navigating the V.Reader system. The interactive nature of the system includes narration, audio prompts and graphics that all assist pre-reading children in using the product. I’m sure that she has no idea that her growing sense of the written word and understanding of sound-letter relationships are all benefiting from interacting with an electronic storybook! As a preschool teacher, I know the importance of reading in a young child’s life, and I always advocate for getting as many books into children’s hands as possible. As a supplemental reading experience, I see the value of the V.Reader system for providing children with a unique way of interacting with fun text and familiar characters.
My kids and I have a daily bus commute that can get pretty darn boring, and I’ve been thankful for the V.Reader’s ability to keep them engaged during this time. I like the size of the product, which is just right for their little hands, and the volume control is also a helpful feature when using this in public. We haven’t gone the headphones route, but that’s another good option to have, too. The system comes with credit toward downloading three free books, though it should be noted that you need to purchase an SD card separately to be able to take advantage of this offer. The cartridges that are available for purchase in stores are typically around $20 each, making them perhaps good gift options for when the grandparents ask about holiday gifts!
VTech is a company committed to advocating for the importance of reading in young children’s lives, and as such, they have partnered with First Book to donate 4,000 new books to reading programs across the country. That is an initiative that matters, in my opinion! For more information on VTech, feel free to check them out on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
VTech would like to give one of our readers the opportunity to win a V.Reader interactive e-reading system. To enter to win, leave a comment here telling us what you love about your own child’s reading experiences!
This giveaway is a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom Christmas Giveaway 2011. Please follow the link for more information, as well as for a complete list of all giveaways as they post throughout the month of November. Entries for all giveaways will close Saturday, December 3rd at 7pm CST. Winners will be drawn randomly and we will announce the winners Monday, December 5th. We will email winners at the address accompanying the winning comments.
Disclosure: I was provided with a VTech V.Reader system to use with my children in order to write a review of our experience. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Written by contributor Dawn, who lives a life immersed in books. When she’s not reading to her preschool class or her own children, she’s posting reviews on 5 Minutes for Books or blogging away at my thoughts exactly.
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